Practice Advice on Democratic Institutions and Policy Process
Legislative Bodies and Institutional Reforms (UNDP)
Summary Advice: Strong legislative bodies are necessary for an effective democracy, a strong rule of law, and an efficient marketplace. The UNDP offers detailed advice on how these bodies can be strengthened.
Main Points: The UNDP suggests legislative bodies can be strengthened by improving their capacity to prepare and review legislation, enhancing the administrative procedures and information management systems of legislatures, strengthening the training programs for both legislators and support personnel, establishing mechanisms that enhance the relations between legislators and their constituents, and improving the parliamentarians’ awareness of the role of parliament in a modern democracy.
Legislatures mediate differing interests. They also establish policies, laws and resource priorities that have a direct impact on the political environment. According to UNDP, recent experiences in public sector reform have shown that democracy, the rule of law, and an efficient marketplace are unlikely to exist without strong legislative bodies. The success of institutional reforms throughout the public sector is heavily dependent on the accompanying legislative and regulatory structures. The strength of a legislative system is measured by its ability to express public opinion, represent a population, accurately express the will of the people, and raise public awareness in matters of national interest. This strength is dependent on the:
- Capacity of legislative bodies to prepare and review legislation,
- Administrative procedures and information management systems of legislatures (including a library and documentation units),
- Training programs for both legislators and support personnel,
- Mechanisms for enhancing the relations between legislators and their constituents, and
- Awareness of the members of parliament regarding the role of parliament in a modern democracy.
Source: UNDP (1997). Management Development and Governance Division, "UNDP AND GOVERNANCE: Experiences and Lessons Learned" Lessons-Learned Series No. 1 at http://mirror.undp.org/magnet/docs/gov/Lessons1.htm#1.3 (accessed 01 November 2012).
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